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1997 Vegas Bowl
Courtesy: GoDucks.com
Release Date: 12/01/2003
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Oregon 41, No. 23 Air Force 13

Dec. 20, 1997
Las Vegas, Nevada
Attendance: 21,514

An explosive Oregon offense put together its most potent display of the year while a maligned defense stuffed the nation’s ninth-best rushing attack to pace its first post-season triumph in eight years over 23rd-ranked Air Force.

The Ducks tallied touchdowns on their first two plays from scrimmage and ate up less than a minute off the clock on each of their five offensive touchdowns. Pat Johnson accounted for his first of two scores on a bomb from Akili Smith to open the barrage and Saladin McCullough rambled for his longest run as a collegian to help seize the early momentum.

Meanwhile, an inspired defense which came into the game yielding over 440 yards per game, dismantled the Falcons’ option attack and limited them to a season-low 211 yards total offense. The Ducks’ defenders were so dominating that they refused to allow the cadets to cross midfield until the second quarter and thwarted a second attempt into Oregon territory with a Jaiya Figueras interception.

Adding to the team victory was a blocked punt by true freshman Garrett Sabol midway through the second period, resulting in a Kevin Parker recovery in the end zone and a 19-0 Oregon lead. The victors accumulated 313 of their season-high 583 yards total offense during the game’s first 30 minutes against a contingent ranked third in the country in scoring defense (12.4 avg.) and 10th in total defense (289.3 avg.)

Jason Maas came off the bench to throw for three touchdowns and scrambled for 28 yards that kept a drive alive before concluding with Tony Hartley’s score 28 seconds before halftime.

Yet it was Johnson who was named the games most valuable player after accumulating 272 all-purpose yards.

Peter Sirmon ended the day with 11 tackles and Michael Fletcher added nine as the defenders limited Air Force to only three first downs and 92 yards total offense in the second half.

 

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

Final

Coach

Oregon

13

13

8

7

41

Mike Bellotti

Air Force

0

0

13

0

13

Fisher DeBerry

SCORING
UO.......Pat Johnson 69 pass from Akili Smith (Josh Frankel kick), 14:42, 1st
UO.......Saladin McCullough 76 run (kick failed), 12:54, 1st
UO.......Kevin Parker 0 punt return (kick failed), 8:33, 2nd
UO.......Tony Hartley 7 pass from Jason Maas (Joshua Smith kick), :28, 2nd
AF.......Blane Morgan 1 run (Alex Wright kick), 8:29, 3rd
UO.......Hartley 21 pass from Maas (Blake Spence pass), 4:55, 3rd
AF.......Bryce Fisher 45 fumble return (pass failed), :43, 3rd
UO.......Johnson 78 pass from Maas (J. Smith kick), 14:50, 4th


Individual Leaders

Rushing
McCullough (UO) 17-150, Maas (UO) 5-40, Latimer (UO) 5-30.
Singleton (AF) 13-66.
 
Passing
Maas (UO) 9-15-0-188, A. Smith (UO) 4-10-1-87,
Morgan(AF) 6-19-1-59.

Receiving
Johnson (UO) 5-169, Hartley (UO) 3-35, Spence (UO) 2-59.
Newman (AF) 2-29.

 

Team Statistics

Air Force

Oregon

First Downs

11

22

Rushes / Yards

41 / 152

43-266

Passes

6-21-0

16-30-1

Passing Yards

59

317

Total Offense

211

583

Punting

10-36.6

6-38.7

Fumbles / Lost

1-1

3-2

Penalties

7-57

19-166

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